Tests of Partnership: Transatlantic Cooperation in Cyber Security, Internet Governance, and Data Protection
Annegret Bendiek (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik)
The revelation of the PRISM program run by the American secret service NSA has left the relations between the United States and the European Union quite fragile. It is questionable whether the restoration of confidence in the transatlantic relations to the level before the revelation can be achieved. With respect to the existence of the PRISM program, the fact that the US and EU access to cyberspace is the product of two distinct geo-strategic positions needs to be understood. Still, as the most important world power, the United States have incomparably greater geopolitical interests and are therefore exposed to greater risks. Thus, the US generally perceives the cyberspace as a battlefield in which it is necessary, from time to time, to trample the rights of individuals for the benefit of the state. By contrast, the EU views the cyberspace as a civilian space that is not under the control of the army, but the police.
However, this should not prevent the transatlantic cooperation in other aspects of the cyberspace. Specifically, the cooperation can be achieved in areas such as the building of a reliable infrastructure, cooperation in the fight against cybercrime and a joint implementation of regulations on the export of hardware and software so that the authoritarian regimes cannot use it to suppress dissent. Therefore, it is also necessary to review the way the West looks at the hardware and software. There has been an agreement for some time now that hardware and software are not only used as a tool but as a weapon as well. The best example is the American company Blue Coat, which unrestrictedly sells software created for the purpose of tracking Internet users to countries such as North Korea, Iran or Sudan. Other companies, which are in most cases based in the US or EU, provide special tools to the intelligence services of certain dictatorial regimes that are used to suppress freedom of speech and human rights of their own citizens. And if we juxtapose these activities of Western intelligence services with the sheer amount of money EU and US spend on the democracy promotion programs in developing countries, it is clear that something needs to be changed in this regard.
What the EU and the US have agreed on is the regulation of the Internet. The plan how to achieve it was designed with the support of the United Nations and was subsequently approved by 190 states. The approved framework called the “multi-stakeholder model” is based on the assumption that the internet is not owned by any particular state, and so it needs to be managed multilaterally. Only when it is assumed that the software/hardware is located in the territory of a particular state, that state has the right to regulate it according to its own law.
(The study can be uploaded here: http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/research_papers/2014_RP05_bdk.pdf)
Next European Commission’s Challenges
Maria João Rodrigues (Foundation for European Progressive Studies)
In the coming five years, the new composition of the European Commission will have to deal with a number of new tasks and topics. According to the authors of the study, the biggest challenge for the new Commission will be how it will respond to the rather uncertain prospects for the future development of the European Union, which now stands at the crossroads of three possible scenarios. The first scenario is an increasing integration of the EU and the gradual achievement of objectives, whereby the priority is the achievement of fiscal consolidation. Another possible scenario is a substantial progress towards the federation of European states. The last scenario allows for the innovation of EU architecture so as it is capable of reaching a lasting solution to the current crisis while facilitating its transition to a new model of economic growth and carving out a more effective role for the EU in global governance.
With respect to the need for the Commission to respond to these likely future trends and possible development prospects, a number of strategic challenges arise here which require the involvement of a large number of actors that the Commission will be confronted with. First, it will be necessary to resolve the question of cooling relations between the EU as a project and its citizens. To avoid the deepening of this problem requires a change in EU’s policies and the strengthening of the EU democratic institutions. The second very big challenge is how to overcome the financial, economic and social crisis while reducing the financial and economic differences across the Union. The main objective here is to enhance and support growth, lower average debt and reduce unemployment, as well as to introduce stricter fiscal discipline rules. These steps are followed by the third challenge that focuses on the acceleration of the transition to a new model of growth.
Over the next five years, the Commission should also address the demographic aging and migration policy. Above all, the gradual aging of the population should be limited, for example by promoting family life, equal opportunities, etc. Another challenge is to strengthen Europe’s role in the new multi-polar world where the US and the EU remain key players in the financial services and foreign direct investment. The last main challenge that the new Commission will face is how to adapt the framework of European integration to different preferences and speed.
(The study can be uploaded here: http://www.feps-europe.eu/en/news/569_next-european-commissions-challenges)
The Impact of Visa Liberalization in Eastern Partnership Countries, Russia and Turkey on Trans-Border Mobility
Raül Hernández i Sagrera (Centre for European Policy Studies)
The normative framework of the EU visa policy is based on the Schengen area legislature while the overall framework is embedded in the Visa Code. The Stockholm program offered the possibilities for the development of the common visa policy that would be followed also by the liberalization of visas. This, according to Eurostat data, would sharply increase the number of asylum seekers from countries of the Western Balkans. However, the EU decided to leave the visa obligation for these states and, based on the agreement reached in 2009 in Prague, turned its attention to the Eastern Partnership countries. With regard to the countries of the Eastern Partnership, the cancelation of visa requirements again seems to be a realistic option, even though it does not lead to an open dialogue on joining the EU. Nevertheless, three requirements are necessary for the abolition of visas to occur. Firstly, the abolition of visa requirements would only concern the holders of biometric passports. Secondly, the date of implementation of the visa abolition would not have a clearly defined date. The exact date would be set according to the countries’ respect for and the implementation of reforms in the spirit of the law for justice, freedom and security (AFSJ), which is defined as the third requirement.
The first step towards the abolition of the visa requirement is the liberalization of the whole process (eg. tax exemption). Agreements facilitating the acquisition of visas were gradually concluded with different countries – in 2007 with Russia, in 2008 with Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania, in 2011 with Georgia, in 2013 with Azerbaijan and Armenia, while the negotiations with Belarus were launched at the end of last year. As was the case with the earlier negotiations with the Western Balkans states, the Eastern Partnership countries were also obliged to meet the EU requirements in the following areas: document security, the fight against illegal migration, public order and security and external relations. The agreements, which entered into force before the adoption of the Visa Code (2010), had to be revised. The EU then also smoothly negotiated adjustments in the visa policy with Moldova and Ukraine. A special case is Turkey, with whom the negotiations started last year and included two other areas: readmission of persons and more extensive communication with the European Commission.
The introduction of visa-free zone will allow people who were previously rejected by EU’s Member States to travel freely. Moreover, the cancelation of visa requirements brings about certain advantages: the reduction of bureaucracy and its costs; the possibility of traveling for people for whom the process of obtaining a visa was rather complicated; the increase in revenue from tourism; the deepening of cooperation in the sphere of science and business. Russia and Turkey have a relative advantage in this case, as the vast majority of their citizens travel to the EU countries as tourists and both these countries do not feature high on the EU list of rejected asylum seekers, particularly in contrast to the Eastern Balkans states (with about 4 percent of asylum applications).
(The study can be uploaded here: http://www.ceps.be/book/impact-visa-liberalisation-eastern-partnership-countries-russia-and-turkey-trans-border-mobilit)